UFO: Enemy Unknown

The original X-COM was cancelled, but development continued in secret

You'll have heard stories before now about great games almost facing cancellation during development, but this one's a little different. The original X-COM, it turns out, was actually, properly canned. Its publisher Microprose was taken over by a new, major shareholder and as part of that process, made the decision to scrap the project with immediate effect.

In this week's episode of Here's A Thing, we'll be telling the story of the three people that decided to disobey these instructions and ensure the game was developed in secret. They did such a good job at this, in fact, that X-COM creator Julian Gollop only found out it had happened 20 years after the fact.

Join me in the video below as we delve into the details.

Read more

UFO: Enemy Unknown retrospective

X-COMmunicating a strategy classic.

And so there are these aliens and to you've got to stop them and you have loads of different guns but then they've got like Snakemen and psychics and you have to build a base and you shoot down UFOs with jets and there are missiles and lasers and radars and scientists making stuff then you get flying suits and hover tanks and you can mind control things and you build your own UFOs and there are zombies and you go to Mars and you fight a big eyeball and there's this remote-control missile launcher and you carry dead aliens in your backpack and…

The Story of X-Com

From the school playground to Laser Squad Nemesis in the words of Julian Gollop.

It's 1983. Thatcher has marched the Conservatives to a landslide victory, the Austin Metro is Britain's best-selling car, and a new BBC Micro game called Time Lords has just launched.